Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Roma 3 Lazio 2 (3-4 agg): Milinkovic-Savic and Immobile net again to secure final berth

SoccerNews in Serie A 4 Apr 2017

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Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile were again the derby-day heroes as Lazio reached the Coppa Italia final with a 3-2 defeat to Roma proving enough to secure a 4-3 aggregate victory.

Lazio had earned a 2-0 first-leg advantage a month earlier thanks to Milinkovic-Savic and Immobile to end a near four-year wait for a win over their great rivals.

And the same players were on the scoresheet once again at Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday as Roma’s shoddy defending left their front-line with too much to do in an entertaining clash.

Milinkovic-Savic opened the scoring for Lazio and, although Stephan El Shaarawy responded before half-time, Immobile’s strike after 56 minutes put Simone Inzaghi’s side out of sight.

Mohamed Salah netted a second equaliser of the match, but Roma still required another three goals in the remaining 24 minutes and did not score again until the Egypt international struck another in the 90th minute.

With the Giallorossi left with too great a mountain to climb, Lazio progressed into a third Coppa final in five years.

Edin Dzeko missed a glorious opportunity to reduce the two-goal deficit inside three minutes as he steered Emerson’s deep cross agonisingly wide of the left-hand post.

Lazio’s own in-form forward was then presented with an opening at the other end, as two Roma defenders struggled to clear a left-wing cross, but Immobile also prodded off target.

Dzeko remained busy, though, teeing up El Shaarawy to run through and force a sprawling low save from Thomas Strakosha, before the Bosnian headed into the goalkeeper’s hands himself.

Roma were largely dominant in a frantic contest, but Lazio extended their aggregate lead against the run of play after 37 minutes.

Immobile muscled past the unwitting Kostas Manolas to meet Felipe Anderson’s cross and volley at goal, Alisson’s smart stop falling at the feet of Milinkovic-Savic for a simple tap-in.

But the Giallorossi quickly pulled a goal back as Antonio Rudiger’s low centre somehow passed through the box for El Shaarawy to sidefoot into the net at the far post.

Roma needed to build on the momentum provided by their breakthrough, but a frustrating start to the second half saw Inzaghi’s men instead take control as both Milinkovic-Savic and Immobile squandered chances.

Lazio continued to find space in attacking positions and Immobile, having fired straight at Alisson minutes earlier, streaked clear of the Roma defence again to slide a finish into the corner.

Despite a seemingly insurmountable aggregate scoreline, Roma responded once more as El Shaarawy’s low curler was tipped onto the post and Salah blasted home the rebound.

The introduction of talisman and captain Francesco Totti gave Roma further encouragement, Salah forcing a save from Strakosha and Kevin Strootman drawing a block from Bastos.

Salah finally tucked away a close-range finish as Strakosha spilled Radja Nainggolan’s strike, but the Giallorossi had left it too late and could not deny their bitter rivals.

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